ADAM Audio Classic Compact 3 review

If you're a fan of incredibly high volumes, then these Adam Audio speakers might just be your thing Tested at £2800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Like your music loud? Step right this way


  • +

    Deliriously powerful

  • +

    substantial build

  • +

    detailed, communicative sound


  • -

    Except at the bottom end

  • -

    compact by name but not by dimension

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‘Compact' is a relative term, of course, but these Classic Compact 3s are quite easily the biggest 'bookshelf' speakers we've seen for some time.

At 44cm high and 29cm deep, they're definitely a desktop non-starter.

Still, they're built and finished as the price demands they should be, and the 230mm woofer, X-ART tweeter and gaping reflex port makes them look all business.

Amplification extends to 100 Watts per tweeter, 150W per woofer, and input is via balanced XLR sockets.

Forget ‘11', one is loud enough for us…
In performance terms, initial thoughts focus on sheer volume. They feature an input gain control with a range from -10 to +10dB, but in most circumstances they're just ferociously loud.

Listening to Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor through our reference pre-amplifier, any volume beyond ‘2' (on a scale of 0-10) was uncomfortably loud.

Not distorted or otherwise corrupted, just too loud – but they have plenty to recommend them beyond bare-faced intimidation. Music is confidently separated and integrated, and detail levels are high.

Bass needs a touch more control
Vocalists sound intimate and immediate – midrange fidelity is a particularly strong point. Treble sounds attack crisply, and the whole presentation motors along very agreeably.

Problems, such as they are, lurk at the bottom of the frequency range. There's no shortage of bass extension, but the bottom end is not as well-controlled as it might be, putting it at odds with the deft expressiveness of the rest of the performance.

Nevertheless, the Classic Compact 3s remain a diverting option – especially if volume is your thing.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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